Great Lakes Region

The Regional Ecosystem Prediction: Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in the Great Lakes project is a 5-year collaborative research effort to predict the extent, timing, and degree of impact from potential invasion of various AIS into the Great Lakes. NOAA’s Regional Ecosystem Predication Program, in support of GLRI funds, and NOAA’s collaborators are working to integrate resources and information on lake ecology, watershed economics, hydrodynamics, and risk analysis to predict which species possess the highest environmental and economic risk to the Great Lakes ecosystem. Forecasts are based upon most likely pathway(s) of introduction, routes of post-introduction dispersal, and regions where suitable habitats. The project uniquely incorporates ecological research with risk and economic analysis to assess impacts of various future invasion scenarios. Information gained from these forecasting tools helps inform resource managers on prioritizing management of potential new AIS in the Great Lakes. Some species under examination in this project are killer shrimp, Asian carps, snakehead, and hydrilla. An emphasis on communicating the model projections, and as supported by the GLRI, is key to establishing sound AIS policies in the Great Lakes region.

The killer shrimp is one of various AIS being forecasted for potential invasive impacts in the Great Lakes. Photo credit:

The Regional Ecosystem Prediction project is being performed on a multi-phase level. Phase 1 consists of developing aquatic habitat layers for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that are used for forecasting distribution and impacts of AIS. This includes examining the potential dispersals of invasive species via a range of modes of AIS transport (e.g. ships/vessels, live trade, and canals). Phase 2 involves modeling the natural dispersal capabilities of AIS via water currents in the Great Lakes. Phase 3 involves developing risk-based food web models to forecast (with uncertainty) bioeconomic impacts of AIS on Great Lakes fisheries.


GLRI Funding:
FY 2010 – $750,000
FY 2011 – $488,000
FY 2012 – $687,000
FY 2013 – $292,800

Contact Info:
Felix Martinez ( (734) 741-2254
Ed Rutherford ( (734) 741-2235
Doran Mason ( (734) 741-2148


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